Few players have personified old fashioned grit and determination to the extent of tenacious former South Melbourne rover Bob Skilton. In 238 games with the Swans he never gave less than his very best in terms of effort. It was the same story when he donned the VFL state jumper, and towards the end of his career when he fulfilled a boyhood dream in representing his beloved Port Melbourne.
Rated by the legendary Jack Dyer as better than Haydn Bunton Sr and equal to Dick Reynolds, one legacy of this attitude was the exceptional number of injuries - often several in the same game - sustained by Skilton during the course of his career. A more measurable legacy came in the shape of three Brownlow Medals - one of only four players to have done so - and an incredible nine South Melbourne best and fairest awards. Not that Skilton's approach lacked finesse. He was, in fact, a highly skilled, pre-eminently two-sided footballer in an era when this was still very much the exception to the rule. Roving to losing South Melbourne rucks for much of his career he turned this to his advantage by developing an unparalleled ability to anticipate the direction of the opposing ruckman's taps.
Bob Skilton later coached Melbourne from 1974 to 1977. Following his retirement he was made an Australian Football Hall of Fame legend in 1996, and named captain of the Swans' team of the century and rover of the AFL team of the century.
Bob Skilton travels from Victoria Australia
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Manjimup Senior High School
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